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Asian Hornet Found in Woolacombe

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A recent sighting of an Asian hornet in Woolacombe, Devon, has been confirmed by the National Bee Unit ‒the first sighting since a nest was discovered and successfully destroyed in Gloucestershire last year. Efforts to identify and destroy any nests are already underway involving a surveillance zone in North Devon; a local control centre in the area; bee inspectors armed with infra-red cameras and traps; and disposal experts with the appropriate means to kill any hornets and destroy nests. The Asian hornet poses no danger to humans, but is a real threat to bee populations. According to Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, the Gloucestershire sighting last year has resulted in a well-established protocol for dealing with this new incursion. A free app for reporting sightings, offering the ability to upload images, is available from the Apple and Android stores, and has already had 6,500 downloads, or you can simply email details to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk. Descriptions of the Asian hornet, together with many other invasive threats, can be found at nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?sectionid=47. The Woolacombe hornet is currently undergoing testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK. It has also been confirmed that, where appropriate, any costs of eradication will be met by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.  

About the Author:

Paul Melnyczuk is editor of Home Farmer, and together with Ruth Tott is the founder of the company. His Ukrainian father and Austrian mother came over in the 1950s, and he was raised near Accrington (of Stanley fame) in Lancashire. With a degree in European Literature and a year spent living in Sweden, and a further 2 years in the Sudan, his background is rich and varied.

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